Have you seen the movie Lord of War supported by Amnesty International?
The movie begins with Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) matter-of-factly stating, "There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other eleven?"
Cage plays the antiheroic protagonist, an illegal arms dealer with a striking similarity to Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Eamonn Walker's character (André Baptiste Sr.) is believed to be based on former President of Liberia Charles G. Taylor.
Trivia for Lord of War (2005) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399295/trivia
* According to Andrew Niccol, the filmmakers worked with actual gunrunners in the making of the film. The tanks lined up for sale were real and belonged to a Czech arms dealer who had to have them back to sell to another country. They used a real stockpile of over 3,000 AK-47s because it was cheaper than getting prop guns. The gunrunners were more cooperative and efficient than the studio or the crew.
* Yuri Orlov is a composite of five real arms dealers.
* No US studios would back the film. International finances were secured instead.
* The tanks seen in the movie were real and belonged to a Czech arms-dealer.
* Before shooting the scene where tanks were lined up for sale, the filmmaker had to warn NATO, lest they think a real war was being started when they see satellite images of the set.
* The character of Andre Baptiste is loosely based on famous warlord, and ex-leader of Liberia, Charles Taylor.
* The Antonov An-12 airplane number 9Q-CIH filmed in the movie was owned by a Russian citizen Evgeny Zakharov. On January 8, 2005, the plane crashed at Bukalaza, Uganda; all six crew members were killed. The plane departed Entebbe airport with destination Kinshasa. It was reportedly carrying humanitarian relief items.
Global impact : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_trade
In the Cold War Era, arms exports were used by both the Soviet Union and the United States to influence their standings in other countries, particularly Third-World nations.
It is estimated that yearly, over 900 billion dollars are spent on arms. Almost every industrialized country in the world has a domestic arms industry to supply its own military forces. Some countries also have a substantial legal or illegal domestic trade in weapons for use by its citizens. The illegal trade in small arms is prevalent in many countries and regions affected by political instability. Frequently, there are links between the legal arms trade and the illegal arms trade, with legally purchased weaponry being re-sold for illegal purposes. Some researchers point out that a lack of transparency in the arms industry allows for these illicit transactions.
Contracts to supply a given country's military are awarded by the government, making arms contracts of substantial political importance. The link between politics and the arms trade can result in the development of what US President Eisenhower described as a military-industrial complex, where the armed forces, commerce, and politics become closely linked.
The Control Arms Campaign, founded by Amnesty International, Oxfam, and the International Action Network on Small Arms, estimates that there are over 600 million items of small arms in circulation, and that over 1135 companies based in more than 98 different countries manufacture small arms as well as their various components and ammunition. According to Oxfam, an estimated 500,000 individuals die in small arms-conflicts every year, approximately one death per minute.
For many people, arms exports may pose an ethical challenge, as they may see supplying the weapons for a conflict as morally akin to becoming involved with negligible personal, national or corporate risk. Essentially, they view the arms industry as a means of profiting from war and death when failure to supply arms could lead to an early disengagement.
The Control Arms Campaign: Amnesty International USA is actively engaged in the Control Arms Campaign, an international campaign organized by AI, Oxfam, and the International Action Network on Small Arms. Through this campaign AIUSA is working to mobilize public pressure on the U.S. government to be a leader in efforts to curb the deadly arms trade. Over the next year, we will advocate for a global agreement on arms brokering and arms transfers as well as increased U.S. assistance to foreign governments to better secure their arms stockpiles and exports.
Top Arms Exporters
Top 8 arms exporters in 2006
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United States arms trade
The United States is by far the largest exporter of weapons in the world, with a sales volume that exceeds the next 14 countries combined. Military sales equate to about 18 percent of the Federal budget, far and away the greatest proportion of any nation. (Estimated budget authority as presented in the President's budget.) John Ralston Saul states that the American government cannot reduce arms sales because of the consequent fall in GDP. (See John Ralston Saul's The Collapse of Globalism, 2005)
U.S. arms are sold either as Foreign military sales (FMS), in which The Pentagon is an intermediate negotiator, or as Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), where a company directly negotiates with its buyer. Many sales require a license from the State Department. The Defense Department manages the Excess Defense Articles (EDA), weapons from the US military given away or sold at bargain prices, emergency drawdowns, assistance provided at the discretion of the President, and International Military Education and Training (IMET).
From 1989 to 1996, the global value of direct commercial arms sales was US$257 billion, of which 45% was exported from the US. According to the 2005 annual US congress reports, 58% of all US arms trade contracts are made with developing countries.
International military education and training
In fiscal year 2002, $70 million USD was spent on International Military Education and Training IMET for 113 countries. During this same year, $46 million worth of drawdowns were provided to Nigeria ($4 million), Afghanistan ($2 million), Georgia ($25 million), the Philippines ($10 million) and Tunisia ($5 million).
Defense contractors are weapon manufacturers or companies participating in weapon research and warfare simulation.
After three years' hard work by Control Arms campaigners all around the world, the UN voted in October 2006 in favour of a resolution to start work on an Arms Trade Treaty. The new resolution commits the United Nations to set up a Group of Governmental Experts to establish the basis of "a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms" An Arms Trade Treaty.
Thanks to pressure from campaigners before the vote, not only did the text of the treaty change to include a direct reference to Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, but 116 countries agreed to co-sponsor the resolution and 139 countries voted in favour of it. This treaty will have a real impact on the arms trade, and will ultimately prevent weapons ending up in the hands of human rights abusers, and fuelling conflict and poverty.
Join Control Arms today
What does war do to our children? Read the article in Newsweek: Iraq's Young Blood http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16610767/site/newsweek/